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Dickey done in by Nats as punchless Mets lose 5-3

Associated Press Published: September 11, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — R.A. Dickey was looking for a late-season win over baseball's top team to improve his Cy Young Award chances.

In the end, one pitch really hurt him.

Bryce Harper had his first four-hit game and pinch-hitter Tyler Moore launched a go-ahead homer off Dickey in the seventh inning to send the Washington Nationals past the punchless New York Mets 5-3 on Tuesday night.

"That's the best lineup I've faced. They're just so functional," Dickey said. "They've got guys who can run, they've got great energy, they've got old guys who have good approaches, they've got young guys that go first to third on you. They've got power. Every one of them can hit a homer, just about. There's not really a lot of breathing room."

Dickey (18-5) mostly pitched out of trouble for seven solid innings. But he gave up a two-run shot to Moore that made it 3-2 in the seventh and was unable to tie Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez for the major league lead in wins.

Gonzalez beat New York 5-1 in the series opener Monday.

Not surprisingly, Dickey got little help from his teammates at the plate. The fading Mets, losers of five in a row and seven of eight, set a club record by failing to score more than three runs for the 12th consecutive home game. The last time they managed four runs at Citi Field was Aug. 12 in a 6-5 win over Atlanta.

New York has dropped 21 of its last 25 in Queens and is 0-5 on a six-game homestand against Atlanta and Washington. The Nationals improved to 13-4 against the Mets this season.

"I had a mediocre knuckleball and had to pitch with it," said Dickey, who had won three consecutive starts. "At this point in the season, you want to give the fans something. We've got a shot at doing something, maybe."

After entering 0 for 10 with six strikeouts against Dickey, Harper doubled and singled twice off the All-Star pitcher. The talented rookie added an RBI single in the ninth against Josh Edgin to become the first teenager with four hits in a major league game since Andruw Jones did it for Atlanta on Sept. 22, 1996.

"Now he realizes he can hit a knuckleball," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Leadoff batter Jayson Werth reached base all five times for the NL East leaders, who have won seven straight and 11 of 12 at Citi Field.

Harper credited Werth's fine at-bats in front of him for helping him solve Dickey. Werth is 13 for 27 (.481) with two homers, three doubles and five walks against Dickey — attributing his success to all the Wiffle Ball he played as a kid.

"That's kind of how I approach it," Werth said. "I feel comfortable."

Tom Gorzelanny (4-2) worked a hitless sixth in relief of Jordan Zimmermann, who threw 104 pitches in five innings. Christian Garcia struck out three of his four batters and Tyler Clippard allowed a solo homer to pinch-hitter Scott Hairston in the ninth before securing his 31st save in 34 attempts.

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